Tag Archives: Materialistic Monday

Friday Confession: I’m Getting Sick of Friday Confessions

It’s true – I’m having a hard time finding inspiration for these. I mean – hey, we all have stuff to confess, but how much of it is interesting or funny? And about 75% of the interesting stuff probably isn’t appropriate for recounting outside of my head, let alone on a very public blog. So I’m constantly challenged with thinking of something funny and/or interesting to confess. And seriously, how many times can I talk about what a prude I am? It’s getting a little old. So sorry Friday Confessions – I’m just not that into you (anymore).

The same goes for Materialistic Monday. I had the idea that I would feature something I want but don’t need every Monday. But the truth is, I’m not just materialistic on Mondays – it’s kind of an every day thing for me. So I don’t think I should be restricted to Mondays only. Besides – I’m kind of poor right now, so writing about things I want but don’t need is a bit depressing.

Then of course there is the fact that the alliteration thing really corny. It’s just a little too cutesy for me. I’ve never done cutesy well – so it doesn’t feel natural to have cute theme day labels on my blog. I mean, talking about how much I want a grab everything you can in 10 minutes shopping spree at J. Crew or making fun of a popular chair comes naturally…it’s just the cutesy names thing that makes me feel like an awkward Spirit Bunny.

So no more Friday Confessions or Materialistic Mondays. I’ll just confess or be materialistic whenever I feel like it. The whole idea of having these “theme” days was to give myself the excuse to keep it short twice a week. A brief paragraph about something embarrassing that happened to me and a picture of something pretty. Such a simple concept. Yet impossible for me. Case in point: the fact that I have just written four paragraphs on nothing. It’s the Seinfeld of blog posts – a post about nothing.

Apparently, I don’t do “brief.” It’s pathological. But at least its’ consistent.

Vintage Rehab

Chris’ parents were here this weekend, so there wasn’t much time for writing. I did want to get in a quick Materialistic Monday post though.

I’ve had Vintage Rehab on my Etsy favorites list for a long time. I think my friend Ainsley first introduced me to Stacey Samuel’s work.

1800s Fan Necklace

Here is a short description of Vintage Rehab that I pilfered from an old press release:

Vintage Rehab is creating a tradition of providing life and rejuvenation to heirloom pieces, transforming them into modern every day wearables. Stacey Samuels, an accomplished Interior Furniture Designer and experienced Marketing Veteran, started her jewelry business as an Estate Sale addict.

“I was looking for my niche within the custom jewelry business, so I began to attend estate sales and auctions. One thing that I noticed was that estate jewelry had lots of personality but there was something missing. Each piece I purchased seemed to scream out at me… please fix me up and give me life! So I did just that. Each piece I have created has great history, presence and has a distinctive heirloom quality. I give it even more life by choosing only the great pieces and doing a lot of work giving it layers and using only the highest quality resources.”

My long standing love affair with antique jewelry is one of the defining elements of my current design preferences. When I was a little girl, I was too young to appreciate the bigger picture of fashion and home design, but I could find beauty in one single object.

1900’s Embellished Locket Necklace

Whether it was a beautifully embroidered pillow, an ornately painted Limoges box or a filigreed gold locket – I was drawn to it. As a child, I wouldn’t have been able to explain what caught my eye beyond the fact that it was “pretty,” but I now know that it all came down to detail.

1900’s Scenic Locket Necklace

Of course, this love of detail and flourish dictated that I would inevitably become enamored with any number of over the top monstrosities during those formative years… I have a distinct memory of studying an image of Princess Diana’s wedding shoes and asking my mother she would make me a wedding dress “exactly like hers” when I got married. My genius mother said, “of course honey,” knowing full well that it was just a young girl’s daydream and not a binding agreement to spend every night for a year sewing seed pearls on lace hearts.

One of a kind design featured on the Vintage Rehab blog.

But at the core of this preference for all things “fancy” was an appreciation for detail and the workmanship involved. Most of the jewelry I received as a young girl came from antique stores and flea markets. Back in the 70s and 80s, it was possible to buy an old enamel pin for a fraction of what people now pay for “estate jewelry.” Stacey’s pieces remind me so much of my childhood and the contents of my beloved jewelry box.

1920’s Etched Circular Locket Necklace

Even now when I think about the way I want a room or an outfit to look, I start and end with the details. And vintage jewelry epitomizes this perspective.

The fan pin necklace pictured at the top of this post brought back waves of nostalgia, and I wanted to feature some images of these lovely old pieces that have been recently brought back to life by Vintage Rehab. So add this to your own Esty favorites, personal wish list, life inspiration list or any old list that seems appropriate. Stacey and Vintage Rehab are on every single one of mine.

In Defense of the Chair

I think my post on Friday was a little misleading. You see, this was not in fact the first time that I have referenced “the chair.”

The first time I featured it as a topic was in one of my Friday Confessions last November. I suggest reading that post for full details (don’t worry – it’s not as long my my usual novels). But here’s the short version: This chair is very popular with current style makers. It is well designed and is also somewhat historical. When I “confessed” to not liking it, I wasn’t trying to say, “hey look at this ugly chair.” I was really saying, “this celebrated chair is beloved by design gurus throughout the world….but I personally, think it’s ugly.” This was a confession, not a statement of personal opinion. Okay – well it was actually a statement of personal opinion, but in a wincing, “please don’t egg my house,” kind of way.

Truthfully, I was surprised to see how many people agreed with me. Because seriously – this is kind of a famous chair. And with modern/retro furniture so well represented in interior design publications, one would think that MOST readers would like it.

Even though I wasn’t looking for a debate per se (again – I was confessing to an abhorrence of something considered quite stylish), I was happy to see at least a few comments with opposing views. This would indicate that the post had a somewhat diverse readership. validating the actual topic as worthy of some discussion. Namely – who defines beauty?

My position when I first wrote about the chair (I know – like I had a “position” other than, “I think that’s one ugly chair” – but just play along okay?), was that beauty is subjective. Not everyone will agree on a given label, and sometimes we find ourselves in the minority camp. BUT – I do think that opinions are given more weight if they are well informed. So I will attempt to defend the chair in all of its plastic glory in order to show that I do actually appreciate the fact that it is deserving of love (if not from me).

So without further ado, I will now arbitrate for the maligned chair. Much like a defense attorney who doesn’t really believe her client.

As I explained in my original post, this chair has a prominent place in design history. It is an Eames. The one I specifically featured was an Eames Molded Plastic Armchair Rocker from Herman Miller.

In the early 1940s, Charles and Ray Eames experimented with new methods of bending plywood in the work they did for the navy wartime effort. They then applied these techniques to furniture, specifically chairs they designed for Herman Miller. They used molded plywood, fiberglass-reinforced plastic, bent and welded wire mesh, and cast aluminum. Their goal as to create a design that provided comfortable support through molding of the seat and back as opposed to the addition of cushioning.

Several chair bases were designed. The RAR (rocking armchair rod) pictured above has a molded fibreglass-reinforced polyester seat and an “Eiffel tower” base with birch wood rockers on the bottom. RAR rockers were first given as gifts to Herman Miller employees who just had babies.

The prototype of the RAR rocking chair was designed for the Museum of Modern Art’s international competition for low-cost furniture design in 1948.

This design was not initially mass-produced since fiberglass shells had not yet been developed at time of the competition. A condition that has happily since been remedied so that mass quantities of these chairs can now be found in:

private homes

Dooce has one in her office (on top of a filing cabinet – which I find puzzling…but have ultimately decided that it was just placed there for effect in the photo shoot).

catalogs and magazines

Anthropologie catalog, Fall 2008

and blog after blog after blog…

The picture I featured on Friday comes from the blog, Making It Lovely via Black Eiffel (again – it is ONLY the chair that I didn’t like, I do love the pillows).

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this chair cannot only be judged only by the material of which it is made. There is far more to this chair than plastic, metal and a striking similarity to subway seating. It has a rich history in interior design. And 50 years of accolades and public demand don’t lie. This is not a chair to be taken lightly. Nor is the question of its beauty a decision to be taken lightly.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we are not asking you to love this chair (god knows I sure as hell don’t) – but we are asking you to decide whether the chair is in fact worthy of love.

You have heard the defendant plead “not guilty” to the charge of “truly ugly.” If and only if the defendant is judged UNWORTHY of love, can this charge be supported. Based on the evidence that has been presented today, only one answer can possibly be given in good conscience: Not guilty.

I now leave it in your hands to make this decision and ultimately confirm the public’s right to decide where they choose to find beauty in the world – a freedom upon which this, our great nation was founded. Thank you.

So now you know my vote: not guilty of true ugliness. Just the subjective kind that I apply as is my freedom to do so. Feel free to make your own choice – you won’t get any argument from me.

*Source material on the Eames Molded Plastic Armchair Rocker from designboom.com.

J. Crew Longings and the Groundhog’s Cruel Prediction

Today was Groundhog Day – something that I never realize until I hear about it on the radio. I rarely give that much thought to Groundhog Day, but after the ice capades that was my life last week, I was very interested in this year’s prediction.

I am ready for Spring.

I’m always cold. I’m over sweaters. And I’m tired of looking like a sad housewife who’s finally thrown in the towel and committed to college sweatshirts as a part of her daily uniform. The only time I don’t look like I’m wearing jammies is when I go to work. And even there, I’m rotating my few turtleneck sweaters so rapidly that they will be threadbare by the end of this month.

So when I heard that that hack groundhog predicted another six weeks of winter, I felt a bit deflated. Six weeks sounds like a really long time right now. Even as I type this my fingers feel like ice and I’m hunched over like an old crone. Damn you fickle groundhog! Who died and made you boss of the Spring season?

Further feeding my cravings for warm breezes and sandals are the sun filled Spring catalogs that are delivered to my door each day. The models look so relaxed (and warm) as they frolic across those beaches and meadows… I know, I know – it was probably 30 degrees outside when they shot those layouts – but still! I want to wear flip flops and halter tops and eat ice cream on my front steps. I want to hear birds chirping when I walk out my front door. I’ll even fend off a few mosquitoes. I just want Winter to be over!

Since it seems that I’ll have to wait six more torturous weeks, I’ll have to make do with perusing catalogs of Spring clothing. And right now, I’m in love with J. Crew’s delicate colors, fabrics and detailing. Many of their featured pieces even look to be inspired by Spring flowers.

This is the first one that caught my eye:

Solid Silk Garland Cami

I’m in love with the intricate neckline of “petals.”

I want one in every color.

Then I found this gorgeous vintage inspired print:

New Hudson shell fresco-print top

It also comes in a sweet little cardigan.

Shoes even!

I would exchange one of my children for the Silk fresco gala clutch if J. Crew would let me.
Even the pieces in neutral colors evoke feelings of Spring:

At first I thought this was just a beautifully cut shirt. Then I saw a close up view of the Liberty Art fabric wildflower pattern. A simple cut + an intricate fabric = a perfect shirt for Kate’s Spring wardrobe fantasies.

I don’t even know where to start with the Crocodile cocktail jacket. The three quarter sleeves, the ruffle collar – I’m literally breathless. “Currently seeking to fill the position of Personal Fairy Godmother. Retail experience required. Ability to conjure this jacket a plus.”

Another petal detail neckline can be found on this amazing occasion dress:

Did you know that chartreuse is my signature color? Okay – not really, but I love saying “signature color.” Very Steel Magnolias.

I think I’d accessorize with this bracelet.
Sadly I don’t have any pin money for shopping at the moment and can’t even indulge in this gorgeous sale item: the Victoria ruffle cami.

It’s even available in my size which is unheard of for sale items… Sigh. It’s criminal really. Or at least a real bummer.

Why am I so poor right now? It’s just not right when there are so many Materialistic Monday worthy Spring fashions hitting the shops. Makes me feel like shaking my first and shouting, “I’ll get you Recession! And your little groundhog too.”

*Contrary to the Steel Magnolias and Wizard of Oz quotes – I am not in fact a gay man. Just wanted to clarify.

More Shameless Self Promotion

Okay – so I just got my copy of Something Cleverish in the mail. And I have found some great new (to me) humor blogs. These people are FUNNY! So far, my biggest laughs were for a post from Heidi of Hadleyesque. Her memories of an elementary school piano composition contest are hilarious. I’m honored to have been included in this group. Seriously.

So I’m devoting Materialistic Monday to Nie Nie. Buy the book!

If you’re not familiar with this, Sue from Navel Gazing at It’s Finest had the idea of putting together a book full of funny blog posts to raise money for the NieNie Recovery fund.

And even more great news…Nie Nie is posting again. Her courage, spirit and humor are truly inspirational. I’m sure that mine were just a few of the many tears shed over her last few posts. I think that she and her family bring new meaning to the word “faith” (and I’m not even a particularly religious person…) If you’d like to start your week out with hope and love, go give her a visit.

Materialistic Monday: Wings and a Jewelry Giveaway

Did you ever play fairies when you were little?

How about now?

We don’t need wings – but I think we all kind of want them. Even if only in our dreams…

We also don’t need jewelry but it’s most likely at the top of everyone’s wish list. My good friend Ainsley at Chattahoochee Mama is holding a jewelry giveaway right now for erica hardy designs.

You have until Sunday to enter. Good luck to you – but I think I’ve got good giveaway karma by now and fully expect to win!

By the way, I got the imagines of wings from the very expensive but super cute Chasing Fireflies. The web address for that is chasing-fireflies.com, NOT chasingfireflies.com. BIG difference….

Sleeping in Beauty

There isn’t much that I miss about my life before marriage. I’m content to just reminisce, and feel no need to revisit those days of staying out until dawn and wondering “if he’s going to call.” But there is one thing that I do long for with great nostalgia. One sigh-inducing memory that I will most likely carry with me for the rest of my life…the girl bedroom.

You see, I ALWAYS had a pretty bedroom. From the time I was old enough to have my own big girl bed to my years as a twenty-something, too poor to afford more than a closet that accommodated a twin-size mattress – my room was girly. I grew up with a love of delicately patterned textiles and soft colors. And I like nothing better than to sink into a cloud of down pillows. In fact, if I had to pick the one room of a house in which decor is of the utmost importance, I would choose the bedroom. And of course, my current bedroom is the ONE room in my house that ISN’T painted, ISN’T decorated, and IS generally a big mess.

It isn’t painted because we ran out of time before the twins were born (we moved into this house just three weeks before they arrived). It isn’t decorated beyond a few paintings on the walls because I don’t see the point until we actually paint the walls. And it is generally a big mess due to my husband’s inability to put his things away or get out of bed in time for me to make it in the mornings. But I won’t go into a big story about what a slob my husband is. I’ve already done that.

And not having a girl bedroom really goes beyond the decor. It’s the overall atmosphere. Now that I share a room with my husband, guy stuff can be found on every surface area and piles of newspapers and sports magazines languish in corners (until I can’t take it anymore and throw them out). When I retire for the night, I slip into bed, carefully lifting the corner of the sheets. My roommate prefers to rip the sheets out of their neatly tucked corners and kick off the bedding because it’s “too hot.” When Chris is away for work, I wake up in a bed almost as tidy as it was when I fell asleep. When he’s home, I wake up in a nest. And let’s be honest. I miss waking up in a room that smells the same as it did when I turned in for the night.

So yes – I do yearn a bit for the pretty girl rooms of my past, and I do a little drooling when I page through catalogs and magazines featuring pretty bedrooms with pretty colors and pretty objets strategically placed on the pretty dressers and side tables. But mostly I lust after pretty bedding since it’s really the cornerstone of the girl bedroom. So this week’s Materialistic Monday is devoted to images of princess worthy beds. Here are some of my current favorites:

from Anthropologie

from Pincone Hill

from Serena & Lily

from Anthropologie

from Pincone Hill

from Serena & Lily

And here is a bonus picture of the crib that I would want if I was a baby:

Okay – so one more bed-related story. Once on a business trip to Beijing (this was rare so don’t be too impressed), I had the MOST disappointing bed experience of my life. I can honestly say that I LOVE hotel beds, and most of the hotels I patronized at that time, were competing with each other for status of “best bed.” I had become accustomed to Heavenly Beds, Suite Sleepers, and the like.

After 24 hours of travel time and an arrival at what felt like 6 a.m. EST, my colleague and I were pooped. We arrived at our fabulous luxury hotel (I know – dream trip) ready to fall into bed and sleep for as long as possible. And when I walked into my bedroom, I saw exactly what I was hoping for: a big white marshmallow of a duvet with about 87 fluffy white pillows. Like a little girl, I took a running leap into the cloud-like arrangement. Only to hit what felt like a park bench. What the hell?! It was the hardest bed I’ve ever encountered in my life. I emotionally deflate just thinking about it. What a let down. And to add insult to injury, I found a listing for BED BOARDS in the hotel services brochure. I don’t think a sidewalk could be firmer than that mattress from hell. It just goes to show that there are different cultural expectations for sleeping comfort everywhere you go… Here at Chez Hood, the beds may not be girly – but they’re definitely softer than concrete.

Scent of a Necklace: The Wendy Brandes Mia Locket

Have you ever heard of scent necklaces? Well – I hadn’t heard the actual term until I saw this swoon worthy bauble at Wendy Brandes Jewelry a few months ago:

I found Wendy’s website when she commented on one of my posts (about my shoes of all things). I loved her designs and I was particularly taken with the Mia Scent Necklace (named after Mia Farrow for her role as Daisy in The Great Gatsby). I would have purchased it on the spot if it wasn’t for the fact that it is 18k gold with diamonds and not really in my impulse purchase price range.

I thought that it would be perfect for Materialistic Monday (it definitely falls into the category of “things I want but don’t actually need”), and planned to find other less expensive options to feature. But I was a bit disappointed in the search results. There just don’t seem to be all that many scent necklaces out there (unless of course you are into Avon or Wicca – then the selection becomes a bit more robust).

It took some digging, but I was able to find a few other designs that I liked:

The Morning Glory Antique Silver Locket Necklace with Turquoise Flowers from Heatherly Designs. Very ornate and well suited to girly girls (of which I am one).

The Heart Scent Locket from AFMetalsmith (red scent fabric was used for the picture). This locket is very modern and manages to make a heart look “edgy” – impressive.

This image came from Scent Scribbles. I don’t know anything about the site or this particular piece – but I really liked the shape and style.

The Sunflower Scent Locket from Equinox Gifts, has a very simple design that appeals to me. Great for silver devotees (and sunflower fans).

This museum piece found on dhub.org was designed by Elsa Schiaparelli, Paris, [c 1940]. I’m in love with the detail (see below):

The pink glass flower, a gold and dark blue, papau shell fly and a gold flower are too tiny to spot on the picture above. (Incidentally, I have no idea who Elsa Schiaparelli is and never knew that “papau” was the name of this kind of shell. That all comes directly from the description paragraph.)

A few of the lockets above are very affordable – but all in all, it’s not easy to find anything like a costume or knockoff version of the Wendy Brandes piece. And that is unfortunate for me because I think I could actually use a scent locket.

I’m one of those unfortunate people who doesn’t really retain smells (I mean, unfortunate when it comes to perfume and scented lotion – not when it comes to cigarette smoke and garlic). My perfume wears off in about three seconds, so I’m more likely to spray it on my sleeve than my wrist. A scent locket would solve that problem.

For now I’ll just have to continue to spritz my clothing and hope that Wendy adds a new “Recessionista” line to her current fine jewelry selection (with a knockoff Mia Scent Necklace of course).

Love at Every Sight

For once, I’m going to try to have a Materialistic Monday that includes more pictures than words. Let’s see if I can do it.

I’m in love with the Anthropologie catalog that arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago. I usually get rid of catalogs once I’ve had a chance to look at them, but I just can’t bring myself to let this one go.

If I had unlimited funds, I could easily outfit myself for every season using Anthropologie finds alone. The vintage inspired styles allow for a much longer closet life. I mean vintage can’t exactly “get old” right? It’s supposed to look old – that’s the point.

My current favorites include the Fire’s Breath Dress in embroidered cotton poplin with silk habotai trim (incidentally – I hadn’t heard of habotai before – I’m just quoting from the catalog):

Elegant – no? And perfect for leaning against monochromatic kitchen backdrops.

I also love this simple Greying Oak Blouse in cotton voile with kimono sleeves:

It looks like it would be flattering on anyone – accentuating waistlines for the fuller of figure and creating curves for the willowy types (and suiting everything in between). It could also be dressed both up and down, which automatically adds outfit options to your wardrobe.

For “fancy” I’d go for this charming little number below:

The Bared Branches Dress in black and cream silk twill is something I could have worn to an event ten years ago. And I would imagine that I’d still be able to wear it ten years from now. Now THAT’S an investment dress.

Next up, one of the loveliest neckline and sleeves combinations I’ve ever seen:

This blouse (The Silent Constellation Blouse) of embroidered nude nylon is a favorite based on the cut and style. I’d have to see it in person since nylon can sometimes look cheap. I’m guessing that it wouldn’t look cheap – but the tulip appliqués are a bit much. The extra embellishments don’t seem necessary. As Tim Gunn would say, “I find them puzzling.”

Finally, I keep coming back to this dress of muted aqua silk:

The Tawny Garden Dress harkens back (people say “harkens back” – right?) to old Hollywood with the natural waist and gathered skirt. Another look that would suit both curvy and boyish body types. Pale gold embroidery provides subtle yet striking detail, and the blossom appliqués don’t puzzle me.

The only major point upon which Anthropologie and I don’t see eye is their choice of contemporary furniture for their home furnishings layouts. See anything familiar?

Ack! It’s “the chair.” I can’t get away from it. Ah well – at least it’s hidden in the corner.

So how did I do? Maybe a tad more description and personal commentary than necessary… But all in all, I think I displayed unusual restraint in the word count department. No promises for the future of course. But I’ll do my best.

Dolls from Inside a Black Apple

Recently, I guest posted on this blog as myself at nine years old. One thing I remember most about that time is how much I still loved my dolls. I was in the end stage of dolls being age appropriate. I didn’t actually see the change coming, but this shift wasn’t lost on me at the time. I knew that it was becoming less common for girls my age to actually “play” with them – and more and more, I had to cloak my love of dolls in the guise of being a “collector.”

Of course, as I grew up, my interests diversified. But I have always just loved dolls. I live in fear that my daughter will be a die hard tomboy and I won’t be able to live vicariously through her as she plays with her own dolls.

So for this week’s Materialistic Monday, you can just imagine how much I covet THIS:

Emily of Inside A Black Apple has long been one of my Etsy favorites. Her whimsical paintings are sweet but always with a bit of an edge. And the little characters she creates are so original and lovable. But she really won me over with her dolls. This new one is probably my favorite so far.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any cuter…

Ohmygod it just did. I want ten please!

Sadly (for me) this one wasn’t for sale. It was made for a friend’s little girl. Kate Coveny, age nine, is currently writhing in jealously.

Here is another one that charmed me:

Seriously. A bear hat? I love it.

Even more frustrating, her wonderful dolls sell out of the shop within minutes (this seems to be a theme for my favorite Etsy stores…) So the chances of my ever getting a little blond one for my blond little girl – let alone buy one at all – are slim to none.

If I ever learn how to sew, I do have the option to make one. Check out her tutorial with Martha Stewart. Okay – since that’s never going to happen, maybe a friend will make one for me – I mean – Eleanor. So if you feel so inclined, my birthday is in April (come on – of course it’s for me!)